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Tintin in Latin: trivia

#1 · Posted: 3 May 2005 04:03
After reading quite a few of my fellow members' posts, I have some ideas about the subjects most interesting to Tintinologists.
I have become a collector of a very specialized corner of the Tintin world, Tintin in Latin; and I must say that it wasn't terribly difficult to create a complete collection, for as far as I know there have only been two books translated).
I thought I would let everyone know what they are missing in this fascinating area!

First, both books were translated by Caelestis Eichenseer and were published by European Language Institute (ELI) in association with Casterman.
The text of "De Insula Nigra" (The Black Island) is copyright 1987 and that of "De Sigaris Pharaonis" (Cigars of the Pharaoh) is 1990. They feature the "wallpaper"style endpapers and the back cover is that showing Haddock with a sextant, Calculus with his pendulum, etc.
Both of the copies I have include a glossary giving some vocabulary help (except that "De Insula" translates into German and "De Sigaris" into Dutch, both languages I don't understand!).
One trivial point is that the glossary for "De Insula" is a loose leaflet not bound into the book, whereas the glossary for "De Sigaris" is on extra pages at the back of the volume.
There is little printing information on the copyright pages to tell me the exact years in which my copies were printed, but there are some differences that might be explained by different printings.
"De Insula" is on standard paper, "De Sigaris" is on the very heavy glossy stock that is being used for the French and Spanish albums these days.
Both are hardbound, but the spine of "De Insula" has the book title at the bottom with author and series information at the top while "De Sigaris" reverses this order.

I have studied Latin somewhat, and from what I have seen of the texts they are very good, even lovely, translations.
One of my favorite moments is on the bottom of page 50, where the Thom(p)sons rescue Snowy from a sacrificial death.
One of the detectives says, "Cito... eum liberemus" ("Quickly... let us free him!") while Snowy replies, "Indubitanter erravi. Sunt enim viri dexteri" ("Undoubtedly I have erred, for they are dexterous men!").

I wonder if any others have information, comments, or insights about Tintin in Latin.
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#2 · Posted: 3 May 2005 09:06

I've been looking around for copies of these for myself but haven't been successful yet. I have seen a few pages somewhere and it does seem to be a fairly faithful and quite witty translation. Has classical Latin been used, or is it more medieval/modern?

#3 · Posted: 4 May 2005 15:58
I've been looking around for copies of these for myself but haven't been successful yet.

I have a few copies of "De Insula Nigra" available for sale. Yes, yes, I know this isn't the forum to mention it, but if you go to ABEbooks.com in a few days and search for that title, they should be available for sale.

Has classical Latin been used, or is it more medieval/modern?

Hmmm... I'm not quite sure how to answer this, because in my experience with Latin I've never really understood any strong contrasts between the two; I've been more "tuned in" to the styles of individual authors. Based on this, however, I would say that these books are more modern than classical, but that fact in no way deviates from their delightfulness.

They're certainly much easier to understand than Vergil; they remind me a bit of the early medieval Christian poet Prudentius because of their clarity and pungeant, ever-interesting vocabulary. For pedagogical purposes (I assume), the texts feature full accent marks and macra. The grammar is not elaborate, and most students of the language - from beginning even through upper intermediate - would benefit from reading them. A Latin teacher friend of mine commented that the Latin is harder than that found in the Latin translations of Rubricastellanus (who did Asterix).

Hope that's helpful!

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